Swizz Beatz & Timbaland Are Suing Triller Over Verzuz
In 2020, Verzuz became a force to be reckoned with for music fans, especially in Hip-Hop. The platform, launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, produced battles between RZA and DJ Premier, Babyface and Teddy Riley, Fabolous and Jadakiss, DMX and Snoop Dogg, and Rick Ross and 2 Chainz. Millions of viewers tuned in concurrently to watch great artists flex their catalogs against each other, with plenty of pageantry.
At the top of 2021, Swizz and Tim’ cashed in on that popularity, as Triller Network acquired the platform for a reported “mid-eight-figure sum.” The two super-producers shared equity with past participants, making a reported 43 artists happy. While Swizz and Timbaland remained in the mix with the new ownership, Verzuz had a banner 2021. Battles between The LOX and The Diplomats, KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane, and Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony became top Hip-Hop stories for 2021.
However, a lawsuit filed yesterday alleges that Tim’ and Swizz have not been paid since January 2022. They are seeking $28 million. “To date, [Triller has] failed and refused to make any payment to [Swizz Beatz and Timbaland] of the past due sums due and owing,” reads the suit, The Washington Post reports.
Per the terms of their deal, Swizz and Timbo’ were expected to receive payment “the first at closing, another shortly after, and two more on the first and second anniversaries of the deal,” per The Hollywood Reporter. They report that the two founders were expecting $9 million payments by March 17, 2022 at the latest, followed by $500,000 going to Tim and Swizz, respectively, every month for 10 months, with conditions that could accelerate those payouts. The two artists accuse Triller of failing to deliver these payments.
Triller has responded to the allegations through TMZ. “This is truly unfortunate and we hope it is nothing more than a misunderstanding driven by lawyers. We do not wish to air our dirty laundry in the press, but we have paid Swizz [Beatz] and Tim millions in cash and in stock,” a company rep said. The network appears to be downplaying the terms. “No one has benefited as much from Triller to date. Triller has helped fuel Verzuz to new heights – making it the global cultural phenomenon it is today. We hope to resolve this amicably and quickly, and truly hope it’s just a misunderstanding. If we are forced to defend it, we are more than optimistic the truth and facts are on our side.”
Two weeks ago, Triller was accused of defaulting on paying various Black creators in the social space, despite year-long contracts in 2021, per The Washington Post.
Beyond their Verzuz partnership, Swizz and Tim are now working with writer/actor Lena Waithe on an Amazon documentary, Gifted & Black. According to Deadline, the doc explains the journey and evolution of Black art from “the plantation” to Pulitzer Prizes.